Nobel Peace Prize Winner Charged with Sexual Assault

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(— February 10, 2019) — Former Costa Rican President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Árias is in the midst of a big scandal after being accused of a sexual assault.

Anti-nuclear activist Alexandra Arce was the first woman to come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the two-time president that occurred in 2014, but soon after, former Miss Costa Rica joined Arce in filing a complaint accusing Árias for sexual harassment that allegedly happened in 2015.

Árias denied that the attack had occurred, saying that he had never done anything against the will of any woman. In addition, Árias claims that during his career, he constantly fought for gender equality.

The famous politician acted as President of Costa Rica for two terms: the first time from 1986 to 1990, and the second time from 2006 to 2010. He received a Nobel for Peace in 1987, due to his efforts to end the civil war in Central America, The Guardian reports.

The woman who accused him of having sexually assaulted her claims that the attack took place during a business meeting on December 1, 2014 at the home of the former president in San José. She told the Semanario Universidad activist that Árias “caught her from behind, and then touched her breasts, began to kiss her and then penetrate her with her fingers.

The alleged victim, ex-beauty queen Yazmin Morales, said that she reminded Árias that he is a married man, but she does not remember what he replied to her. She remembers, however, how “trapped” she felt after Árias left the room.

Costa Rica State Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to the AP that a criminal complaint had been received against Árias over a possible violation of sexual nature, but they refused to disclose more information.

Arias denied everything in a brief statement, AP reports. “I have never acted in disrespect of the will of any woman, much less in the case of their freedom to relate with another person,” Arias said in a brief statement. “In my public life I have promoted gender equality since I consider it an indispensable means to achieve a more just and equitable society for all people,” said the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

With Morales, at least six women have said Arias harassed or assaulted them in what has become one of the most prominent examples of the #MeToo movement in Latin America. Only two, however, have so far filed formal complaints.